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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

My Photo
Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quinta Essentia

I've been getting dizzy lately. Not for long and not all the time, but just every so often; suddenly; for, oh, 30 seconds or so. I figured it was that whole "stood up too fast" thing, but then I realized it happens even when I'm not standing up. I'll be doing the most mundane activity and suddenly notice that I feel like I've had several adult beverages: can't concentrate, the room spins, blah blah blah. That sort of thing. And it's been happening more frequently lately.

And this last week or so, I've been feeling really tired, too.

That cinches it: I've got to stop listening to this.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Love Only Goes So Far, No Matter Who You Are

Our past makes up our present
We seldom ever get a brand new start
So you can take your heart and run
But know that it's gonna leave a mark

We had the chance to change our trust
Each time we tried but got tangled up
I couldn't ease the pain of the hurt you'd had before
'cuz I've got history of my own, so I only hurt you more

I've always said I'm sorry
And I could swear to God it's gonna change
And I could tell you I will heal the wounds that cut you down
But you've got scars
And I've got scars
And I guess love goes only so far...
No matter who you are

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rock and Roll this Sunday!


Anyone going to be -slash- already are in Houston this Sunday? Want to see Buzzfest XX? I have a spare ticket. The concert's sold out and has a whole list of excellent mainstream bands playing all day on two stages. More than one bank reunited for the concert and won't be around to see later. I'd even be willing to offer up a place to crash if you just need one. I should clarify, since you've read this blog, that the "place to crash" is a separate, private bedroom with a lock on the door. Jus' sayin'.

Just a taste of who will be there:

  • Smashing Pumpkins (reunited)
  • Chris Cornell (This guy ROCKS! He was founder/driving force behind Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, and Audioslave).
  • Evanescense
  • Finger Eleven
  • Evans Blue
  • Fuel (reunited)
  • Sum 41 (reunited - I believe)
  • Alter Bridge
  • The Bravery
  • Earshot
  • Fair to Midland
  • Sick Puppies
  • Starting Line
  • And more!
Let me know if you want to be my guest. Well actually "our" guest since it's me and my daughter who're going. The concert's sold out and I hate to have it go to waste! C'mon, who'd pass up a free ticket! Are you insane?!?!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Prophet Mellencamp

I recently found Stacy's blog. I read many blogs on a frequent basis and have to say I rather enjoy popping into her world for a dose of inspiration. Her life is the kind I've always claimed to lead, but have really only tried to actively lead this past handful of years. Yeah, it's tougher to do nowadays as a solo act, but I still find I enjoy the satisfaction of experiencing what life has to offer; even taking pleasure in the smallest of actions. Oh, and I so want to hang out with her, too. It would be like being in an episode of Friends.

Anyway, something I read over there today, coupled with an opportunity that presented itself to me yesterday, reminded me of the chorus to a Mellencamp song (my favorite artist of all time, btw). He sings:

Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can

I remember the first time I heard those lyrics. It was 1985. Gas was $0.73 a gallon at the 7-11 down the street from my parent's house. No, there weren't dinosaurs roaming the Earth; we'd hunted those to extinction in the 70's. I was just starting my undergraduate program at the university, although at the time I was an engineering major. I had a new girlfriend, Becky; my first real serious girlfriend. Actually, my first real girlfriend, period. The few I'd been lucky enough to "date" previously turned out to be... well, they didn't work out.

I was sitting my truck* at school, listening to the "Scarecrow" tape (yeah yeah, I'm old; CD's were still a few years from mainstream) and reading the lyrics insert while waiting for my chemistry class to begin. Well, I had to go inside for the class, of course; it's not like the prof held class outside and we just sat in our cars while he lectured. Not that that would have been bad, now that I think about it, because that would mean I could have attended class in my underwear if I wanted to - well, if I wore any back then, but let's not stray off subject here.
When I read those lyrics in time with John's singing, something should have struck a chord in me. I had no way of knowing then just how prophetic John was being. Life does indeed sweep away the dreams we have planned, but the key is in how you strive to achieve even in the face of changing, or unrealized, dreams.

And I had a lot of plans then. I was going to be rich. I was going to be successful. I was going to someday marry Becky and we were going to have a dozen kids. I'd planned to take them all to Disneyland on vacations and teach them to ski and pole vault, just like their old man. Life was an open expanse of virgin territory and I was going to conquer it all.

At the time I had a poster on my wall at home that depicted everything I wanted in life. On it's glossy finish was the image of a huge mansion perched near the edge of an oceanside clifftop. In the foreground was a multi-car garage and parked within was one each of a Ferrari, Porche, Jaguar, and Corvette. In the background beyond the house was a helo pad, on which rested the sleek black form of a jet-powered helicopter. Finally, standing between the Ferrari and Porche in a skimpy bikini, was the final trophy in my collection, holding a frosty brew in her hand and a smile on her lips that said the beer was not the only head I was about to receive. Funny how so many of my "dreams" centered around the material. Huh. Well, I was 18 and it was the Reagan era.

But Life, while standing next to me looking at that poster, turned to gaze down at me as a kindly father looks upon his naive son. He mussed my hair with a rogue laugh, placed his hand on my shoulders and squeezed gently, then said "keep dreaming, bitch."

The timelessness of Mellencamp's words escaped me back then. As I sat there tapping my foot to the sound of his strumming guit-tar, the words wafting into my ears were just that: words. Words set to a catchy musical hook. They held no more real meaning to me than the Social Security debate or New Kids On The Block music. It's not that they were irrelevant, per se, I just didn't think about them. The same way I don't think about Bananarama.

Today, however, I pause and reflect over the sweeping curve that has been my life this last 22 years since and I realize the importance the chorus to that song has played in my life. In all our lives, really. Days do indeed turn to minutes. We go to sleep one night feeling young; vibrant; secure that the world will mold itself to conform to our desires.

In my home right now there's a picture on our living room wall. It was taken many years ago when BW and I were still dating. I believe we were engaged at that point, though. We had gone skiing with my brother and his wife at Boreal Ridge in northern California. During a rest break at the lodge my brother snapped a picture of BW and me, pressed cheek to cheek with our arms around each other's neck. We were smiling, as if the world was turning to suit us.

Then we wake the next day to discover we're 15 years older. The kids are no longer small enough to hang onto your ankles as you drag them laughing around the living room carpet. Your eyes show a little more wisdom; your body a lot more age. The woman from that picture on your wall no longer looks at you as her future and there's nothing you can do about it. You can no longer eat a Double Whopper without feeling like you've swallowed a 200-pound anchor. And you realize with a rueful nod that it's not the years, but the mileage that counts.

But looking back across the years to that person with all those dreams the thing is, you never did earn enough to afford that Ferrari or that mansion. The closest you've come to owning that helicopter was buying the AirHog RC chopper for your kid from a 3am infomercial (let's not kid ourselves: it's also for you). And when you see a girl like the one in the poster, with the perfect D's and trim waist and the smile that says she just can't wait for you to get her naked, your first thought is "heeeey, I wonder what her mom looks like."

20 years ago I knew I was going to be successful. 15 years ago I knew I was going to be married forever to BW. Five year ago I knew I was going to travel the world and live each day like it was created just to accommodate my desires. And last year I knew I was a good husband and father.
Instead, Life has served to prove the chorus right by often times handing me a sobering serving of shit burger, then standing there tapping it's foot as his co-conspirator, Reality, forces me to eat it. Minutes do turn to memories. Life does sweep away the dreams we make for ourselves. Today I'm financially sound, but I won't have a Ferrari any time soon. And that's ok with me. My marriage has apparently run its course and is ending, no matter what I want; no matter what I... well, just no matter I guess. And I wonder if time will prove me an ineffective father, as it often feels I was as a husband.

Suck it up and tough it out; and be the best you can. Well in that I certainly am trying.

Yesterday I received a phone call from a head-hunter I used to work with when I lived in Los Angeles. Ken the head Hunter knows I now do contract work because being with my kids is the single most important thing to me -even moreso lately- and we still like to see the world. Besides, I've been to the summit of Mt. Career and let me tell you it's cold, it's dark, it's fucking lonely, and there's always some 24 year-old MBA punk trying to push you off. I'd much rather be remembered for my contribution to parenthood and husbandry than how far up the corporate ladder I was able to climb. I make a pretty damned good living doing freelance finance work, although I admit get a kick out of telling people I'm a "temp." Yeah, ladies, I'm quite a catch.

Turns out Ken the Head Hunter has an opportunity for me to nearly double what I'm currently making AND pay me a $100 per diem for living expenses. The net effect would be to place my wages weeeell into the six figures. That bodes very well for the new dreams the kids and I have planned. Plus, it's paid on an hourly contract rate (and a double overtime rate), so the company is far less willing to insist I work beyond 40 hours a week. But it would mean temporarily relocating to Birmingham, Alabama.

We still want to travel, but FlyBoy has a problem with the size of our RV. It's just too small for him. While he agreed that one with more space would make him far happier about being on the road, the price to acquire one of them means it might as well be made of gold and come with personal valet service. The contract job would certainly solve that problem.

We've also expressed an interest in eventually settling in Colorado Springs, where my youngest brother and his family are moving this year. Buying a house there isn't impossible, but they, too, aren't nearly so cheap as Houston and I'm now facing having to do so on my own, while still being able to afford one large enough for myself and the kids. Given the state of the housing market now, I'm not sure I'd get enough from my house here in Houston to afford a decent one in Colorado. The contract job would solve that issue too.

The dilemma for me is what to do about the kids' mom. She's said she'll move wherever the kids go and while my 25% evil side tells me I should be more mean to her, go, and let her worry about what to do with herself, I simply can't do it. I'm not going to take the kids from her and I refuse to just "up and leave" if it means she won't get to see them. She's a good mother, so I can't bring myself to do something that would hurt her, even if it's better for me and the kids financially. So... what to do?

Of course it's still in the very early stages and verily I say unto you that it is unlikely to result in my getting it, but the job fits perfectly into what the kids and I want to do over the next few years. And it aids significantly in my desire to provide them a college education if they want one. With our life's-to-do list growing all the time, it would be a huge boost to make that kind of coin.
So I find myself dreaming again; making "what if" contingency plans. But in light of the meaning behind those lyrics, what do you suppose I'll know tomorrow?


*I never should have let me father sell that truck. It so freaking rocked. And I especially shouldn't nave used the money to buy my next car. Yeah, the people are all laughing because they can't believe that dude actually thinks it's sexy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Everyone Loves Dyck

Yes, tis true Virginia, there is a Santa Clause; and he looks like a freaky monkey in a clown suit. I've been a little maudlin on this site lately, and I'd like to give a shout out to the guy who gave me a chuckle recently. A man who gives the term "spanking the monkey" a whole new meaning. At least I think he's a guy; there's really no proof honesly. In my last post, Dyck requested that I post about celebrity boobies. And since I'm kinda tired and also a little drunk, I'm going to throw this out for his satisfaction, then go drive 90mph through a few school zones.

Without further preamble, celebrity boobies for the men:

Mmmmmm... nothing says "stab me in the eyes with an icepick" like those. Can I get an "AMEN!"

But I'm not about to leave the ladies hanging:

Yeah, that's a sexy bitch, right ladies? I hear he can also give you makeup tips and he's also seen often with his sexy counterpart:

Redheads not your particular cup of tea? Like them tall, dark, and intellectual? Ok. Never let it be said I'm not the pleasing type. I got your tall, dark, and intellectual right here:

And don't forget to pick up his latest book:

I hope this serves as satisfying Dyck's desire for celebrity boobies. If not, I ask you to consider this:

Not that this applies to him, necessarily; I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seventh Circle of Hell: A Prologue

I've been to prison.

What image does that conjure in your brain? If you're like most people you picture a person who can't be trusted; who's greasy and disgusting, either in person or whose soul leaves a stain when he rises from a chair; a person who'd just as soon sell your kids into sexual slavery as take the time to order the #2 combo meal at the local McDonald's drive through.

You imagine someone hooked on drugs? Or with a drinking or gambling problem? Or someone who deals drugs to 10 year olds?

Maybe you imagine a sexual deviant. Someone who slips pills to unsuspecting dates and then records himself raping them as they're incapacitated. Or a person who has sex with children?

Or a person who shot a 21 year old saint while robbing them of their gum money.

Perhaps you picture a greedy bastard who allowed scores, hundreds, or thousands of hard working families to fall into financial ruin so he could live the high life?

Maybe a gang member who killed a pregnant mother in a drive by shooting, perhaps?

Or, in the odd case, a person who's innocent?

Regardless of your particular Rorschach, you likely imagine someone who possesses a certain defect; something that makes them incapable of conforming to the rules of society. Maybe they're addicted, maybe they're just selfish; but whatever the reason, they are different from you. They are flawed and so possessing of a proclivity to do wrong for their own gain.

Before it happened I was just like you in that I believed with every fiber of my being that I'd never be there. I was good. I was decent. I was caring. I still am. I had a well defined sense of right and wrong (I still do) and c'mon, there's no way I'd ever do something that would land me in jail (but I did). I felt I was immune from those influences; just like you are. Nope, prison was a place for those with a fundamentally flawed character. It was for the predators who never developed a decency for their fellow man. It was where we disposed of the slimy underside of society until the law forced us to release them. Locked away; forgotten; forsaken; [spit] good riddance one and all. No matter the circumstances, I knew I would always know that right was right and wrong was wrong and I'd be able to determine the difference and continue down the path of righteousness.

Then I was there. And the overwhelming weight of my opinions and disregard for what it meant pressed down upon me. I'd let down so many people. I'd tried to make it right, even when it wasn't required, but it didn't matter. The hypocrisy of being a supposedly "good" man behind bars glared at me from beyond the meshed windows and razor wire fences, where the air was "free." Most days "inside" I spent curled up on my rack, wishing there was a way to will myself to die. If ever there was a soul lost in the blackness of helpless despair... In retrospect I think I wasn't even looking for a light in the darkness; just a way out, whatever that required.

I've struggled many, many times over the last few years with how to write about this; for many reasons. One, it's hard to articulate. It's an event that stirs a great deal of emotion and, for me at least, highly-charged emotion makes me write either very well or very poorly. I'm hoping this isn't one of those "very poorly" moments. I suppose I shouldn't really give a shit what anyone out "there" thinks of me regarding what happened or my ability (or lack thereof) to articulate it in the proper fashion, but the fact is, I do care. I don't mind so much if people have a negative impression of me (although I can't say I like it), but I do mind that it's the correct impression.

What's often lost to the stigma and stereotype of being a "con" is that so much of what happened those years ago was the culmination of years of strain, struggle and stress that had me at a place where I literally did not care if I lived from one day to the next. I was on auto-pilot, and for whatever reason (real or perceived) I felt that I couldn't turn to anyone for help. I was alone-sinking-and trying desperately to claw for solid ground. And I made a choice which was never good, but seemed my only option at the time.

No one who hasn't been there could possibly understand; not if they have a conscience; not if they care what kind of man they are; not if they've ever obsessed over "what this means." Only when you stand on the inside of a dark, damp, 8x10 concrete box as the guard closes the door with a look of "good, another scumbag off the streets", hearing the sound of finality as the steel of door and jamb meet, feeling your world crash about your feet in a smoldering ruin while knowing that you, yourself, burned it to the ground (and not just for yourself, but your wife and kids too); only then, can someone tell me they understand. I struggle today with determining the right way to tell you, while not underplaying my guilt.

Second, so much of the emotion has changed. As I eluded to above, from about, oh, a year to a year and a half before to about six months or so after I came home, I had no desire for life. None. Every day was waking up to a set of tasks that I felt I had struggle to complete for someone else. Life was about responsibility; about obligation. Keep in mind, this is not an indictment against anyone. No one made me feel this way and in fact my wife, my kids, my family; none! made any such demand on me. That I felt this way was borne of my own belief in what I was supposed to achieve in life coupled with past setbacks (being downsized, facing bankruptcy, the belief that my peers were advancing faster/further than me, the belief that you only "matter" in America if you have a big house, fancy car, etc., etc., etc.). I chose to accept the weight of the world on my shoulders, thinking it was expected of me.

Another struggle in trying to write about this is my audience. See, there's a fine line when you "blog" (if that's what I can be presumptuous enough to claim I do; as opposed to just verbally jerking off in a realm where far more talented writers get all the proverbial hot chicks) between not enough and too much. Too much or too little and I risk losing the message and/or the reader. Many days I sit and wonder what I can write that will make someone want to read, or better still, return later. Or, *gasp!* actually comment to let me know I'm not just casting pearls to swine. Blogging used to be - back when it was invented as a joint effort between Gore and the pied piper of mindless followers - a venue to communicate; to share ideas, feelings, beliefs, blah blah blah. Then it became mainstream and now, let's face it, blogging is the new black. Everyone has one and the success and value of each is measured largely in the number of comments left or insipid award nominations granted or flashy, unique blog designs. Now I have something about which to write, but I still feel the need to be careful in how much I reveal.

See, as an extrovert I like being around people. But I find that I rather enjoy those people to be anonymous people. I don't really enjoy people with whom I work or play to know too much about me. Could this be because on some level I wonder if perhaps I do have a faulty character? That if they did know me better they'd decide what so many in the past seem to have decided? Or that I'd forever be forced to explain it over and over again? Or maybe that I'm better liked when I'm not well known? Welcome to useless introspection; population: me.

It took a long time for me to lay down the guilt of having put so many through so much and having disappointed so many more. But some of that has returned recently, I'm afraid, when someone I thought had forgiven my criminally stupid lapse in judgement insinuated that I am, in fact, not forgiven. It's been a struggle for me to re-convince myself that there are people out there who have choosen to look past that event and see the man I truly am.

I'd be lying if I said it doesn't still bother me. Not that I went to jail or that people, when they find out that I was there, still instinctively erect a protective wall between themselves and me (further proof that in general, people consider offenders to be flawed in some fundamental way, the way evangelicals might view homosexuals or the KKK might view "minority" races). What bothered me most wasn't that I lost several months of my life to it. I wasn't bothered most by the fact that others would look down upon me. Sure, some few people gave me hope. Katrina said she knew about it and it didn't change her opinion of me one bit. She reminded me that I was there for her when her life took a turn for the worse and over the years she'd come to see me as someone very worthy of her support. She still provides glowing character references for me too. And Brett actually became angry with me when I finally told him what had happened; not because I had screwed up, but because I'd not told him sooner and that I'd chosen to go through it alone, denying him the chance to provide support. I don't see Brett as much as I'd like, but I'll go to my grave considering him a brother. Most of the rest I didn't tell either because I like them very much and selfishly didn't want to give them the opportunity to discard me like so many others have or because I was so humiliated and embarrassed by my lack of judgement that I couldn't bring myself to disappoint them that way.

No, what really bothers me, still to this day, is that I ever did something that landed me in prison in the first place. Just like everyone else, I believed - and do to this day - that my moral compass is fully operational. I have compassion for those in need; I bristle at the thought of anyone taking advantage of another; I still give aid and support to those who need it even when I might need it myself. What bothered me from the beginning was not "being caught" or being locked up (although yeah, that bothered me a lot) or watching someone bleed to death after being stabbed. It was that I had done something that led me there. Maybe society was right. Maybe I am fundamentally flawed and should do the world a favor and just die in prison. Maybe I didn't deserve a second chance. Certainly a great many people I considered friends turned their back on me when they found out. Maybe my family would be better off without me. I certainly didn't care. The overwhelming emotion I had for two years was self loathing. I literally hated myself for what I had done: to myself, to my future, to my wife and kids, to those who believed in me. Yes, the world would be better with a few less of "me."

The only thing that hurt more was knowing the burden my actions had placed on my wife and our two beautiful children. I had let them down most of all. I had promised them that they'd never have to worry about money or having nice things. But it was a lie. A lie I told and perpetuated. A lie I've mostly been able to forgive myself for, but has recently come back into my head. Oh, I don't hate myself like I did back then, but I certainly do wish there was a way to truly erase what I'd done.

In preparing to write about this I went back and re-read many of the letters I'd sent to my wife when I was gone. The pain is obvious. The self loathing jumps out at you from the page. The almost primal cry for help is there, too. As I wrote over and over in those letters, "what kind of father; what kind of husband; what kind of MAN does this?"

Today I have mixed emotions. That man seems like someone else entirely. He's not me; not anymore. I've forgiven myself for that transgression. I am a good man. I am a loving and caring spouse AND a damned good father (at least I try ever so hard to be; I hope time proves it true). But the cliche about one lapse in judgement serving to erase a lifetime of good makes me cautious about printing it here. The truth is I don't know who reads this blog. And while I try to be transparent in my writings, I'm concerned about people coming away with the wrong idea of what this "is."

That being said, I'm not going to tell you the details of what happened. Not the official charge or where they disposed of me for those months. No details of the actual offense. The more perceptive of you will likely be able to figure it out eventually, but I'm not going to reveal it in a venue that is akin to taking out a full page ad in USA Today. The details don't matter anyway. As far as those go, however, know that what I did was not in any way related to violence, drugs, abuse, or sexual deviancy. I didn't beat my wife or kids. I didn't get caught selling a pound of crack to an undercover officer. I didn't devise some private "game" between me and any child. You'd be surprised about what's illegal nowadays (I know I was), but yes, I should have known better. Regardless of the offense, it changed me in ways I'd have never thought possible before and I'm taking a huge risk in mentioning it here because I suspect some people who read this know me personally but do not know about this segment of my past.

What I am going to relate (not today, though; this entry is already too damned long) is what led me there, how it felt to be there, and how walking through hell served to make me a better husband, father, friend, employee, and human. And, hopefully, about how I overcame the relentless disdain that society heaps upon those who return home. Now I know the blogosphere is supposed to be funny an' all. But this is also therapeutic, so bite me if you don't like it. heh. Believe me, there were funny parts too. You want one? Ok, here's a hook: the day I was treated to a cow manuer shower when I activated the spreader from down wind.

Or, I could just keep it to myself and post endless pictures of celebrity boobies or my dog taking a dump. Your choice.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two Words: Bore, Ring

So I was perusing my "blog file" for something to write about this morning. Something that would take my mind off the overwhelming blaaaah I'm feeling this last couple days. Something's just not right. Well, that's not a surprise and I'm sure it has to do with my current set of circumstances, which I won't bore anyone with. I seem to make it worse when I attempt to articulate it anyway. Still, I feel myself regressing a little because I just don't know what to "do" and I've never been one to go through life without a plan. Oh well; it's not your problem. And I don't think you come here to read about mine.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wish you could just get away? I suppose we all have. And mine's lasted for a few days now. Right this moment I'd love to be hitch-hiking down a long and lonesome road (ten points if you can guess from which song that comes). I'd like to be able to stop and stare at the sunrise over the open desert; to be alone with the ghosts of my past and dreams for the future. My, don't I sound like a bad songwriter. Well, perhaps it's an itch to get back on the road. Speaking of itch, I heard a great name for a punk band today: "Itchy Pickle." Heh. Made me chuckle.

Maybe the doldrums are because my life here in Houston has taken a major turn for the worse this year. Or maybe I'm just craving a clean slate. A nouveau d├ępart, if you will. New town; new job; new chance at extroverted anonymity (where I get to have a lot of friends, but none that knows me very well); new chance to see new places. I've found that I really enjoy being out on the road. Something about it just seems to clear my head and put things into perspective again. I could write more about it, buuuut the sense of blaaah has overtaken me again so I'm not feeling much like sharing. Besides, there's that whole youdon'tcomehereforthat thing.

Anyway, as I scoured my folder of blog ideas, I found something that would allow me to write something that's not only a challenge for me (since I tend toward the verbose), but also allows my ass to be totally lazy. I think you know where I'm going with this, don't you? Yes, it's the ubiquitous meme! That becon of mostly random, often sophomoric information that makes readers the world over stand up and shout "how about a little less laziness and a little more shut the hell up!"

But, as this used to be the land of free speech (quick people, which Amendment is that?), I'm gonna do it anyway. Ok ok, I owe you guys at least something that'll make you come back again. Well, I don't owe you anything, but I want you to come back. So, how about if I drop a real bombshell? Something that's going to be a serious stretch of faith for me to even mention? Something that smacks of the kind of lurid details everyone wants to know about others but doesn't think will ever happen to them? An item from my past that has revealed a great deal about who my friends are and how fucking judgemental people can be; something that, for the only time in my life, had me living "for" others but not giving a shit if I lived otherwise. Something that, today, has me questioning what I "deserve." You wanna know what that is? Then tune in next time.

For today, however, I give you the insipid:

Two words. No explanations.

1. Yourself: Usually funny
2. Your spouse: painfully distant
3. Your hair: short, graying
4. Your mother: California horticulturist
5. Your father: staunchly conservative
6. Your favorite item: my tunes
7. Your dream last night: Disjointed, hazy
8. Your favorite drink: Dr. Pepper
9. Your dream car: Blue GTO
10. The room you are in: Open office
11. Your ex: in Washington
12. Your fear: losing kids
13. What you want to be in 10 years: happily married
14. Who you hung out with last night: my kids
15. What you're not: gay, boring
16. Muffins: fattening goodness
17. One of your wish list items: Eva Mendez
18. Time: passing quickly
19. The last thing you did: Talk smack
20. What you are wearing: office attire
21. Your favorite weather: rain, snow
22. Your favorite book: Don't have one (ok, so that's three words; sue me)
23. The last thing you ate: cold cereal
24. Your life: fractured, hopeful
25. Your mood: melancholy, pensive
26. Your best friend: left me
27. What you're thinking about right now: moving away
28. Your car: boring, reliable
29. What you are doing at the moment: blogging, thinking
30. Your summer: hot, rainy
31. Your relationship status: no comment
32. What is on your TV: son's helicopter
33. What is the weather like: muggy, warm
34. When was the last time you laughed: forever ago
35. Your mood: Kinda blaaah

- The Number of People Stunned by My Mediocrity